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Latest news from TRAFFIC


Thailand steps up efforts to tackle illegal ivory trade

Thai Customs display the 800 kg of ivory seized at Suvarnabhumi International Airport this August Click photo to enlarge © Richard Barrow /  Bangkok, Thailand, 24 September—A recent high-profile ivory seizure, a review of national legislation, and the initiation of training courses for both government staff and ivory traders are indications of the commitment being shown by the Thai Government to tackle the illegal ivory trade, according to TRAFFIC.

The seizure, by the Royal Thai Customs Department, took place during the third week of August at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, when, according to the Thailand CITES Management Authority, 316 pieces of raw ivory weighing 812.5 kg illegally imported from Qatar were confiscated.

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Vietnamese Communist Party officers encouraged to spread the word

TRAFFIC staff addressed 350 communications officers of the Communist Party of Viet Nam at an event in Lai Chau last week click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC  Lai Chau, Viet Nam, 24 September—Nearly 350 communication officers of the Communist Party of Viet Nam attended an event last week in northern Viet Nam where the negative impacts of illegal wildlife trade were among the hot issues presented.

The monthly meeting of communications personnel, organized by the Communist Party’s Central Committee on Communications and Education (CCCE), aimed to circulate news and policies throughout northern Viet Nam.

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French Government supports bushmeat monitoring in Central Africa

Blue duiker Cephalophus monticola—one of the species most commonly found in bushmeat trade in Central Africa Click photo to enlarge © Roland Melisch / TRAFFIC  Paris, France, 18 September 2009—TRAFFIC’s monitoring of the bushmeat trade in Central Africa is to receive funding as part of a larger agreement signed today between the Government of France and IUCN to support sustainable management of biodiversity.

The agreement, worth almost EUR8 million over four years, will support a variety of biodiversity conservation projects established in 2009 in Africa, the Mediterranean and in some of the European Union’s overseas territories.

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Hunting pushes Saola to the brink

Excessive hunting is threatening the survival of the rare Saola, a relative of wild cattle that lives in remote forests of Southeast Asia Click photo to enlarge © 1996 by W. Robichaud/WCS   

en Français

Gland, Switzerland, 7 September, 2009—One of the world's most enigmatic mammals, the Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, is on the brink of extinction, according to a group of experts who held an emergency meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR, to try to save the animal.

The meeting identified snaring and hunting with dogs, to which the Saola is especially vulnerable, as the main direct threats to the species.

Experts emphasized that the Saola cannot be saved without intensified removal of poachers' snares and reduction of hunting with dogs in key areas of the Annamite forests, along the border of Lao PDR and Viet Nam.

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Pangolins saved from slaughter

Some of the 98 rescued pangolins. Click photo to enlarge. © TRAFFIC

en Français

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28 August 2009—In its biggest seizures of pangolins this year, Malaysia’s Wildlife and National Parks Department confiscated 98 animals from a house in Alor Setar in the northern state of Kedah.

The department’s Wildlife Crime Unit raided the house at 6.30 am on Wednesday after about three weeks of surveillance and investigations.

The unit found the totally protected animals hidden in a store room behind the house and have arrested a man in his 40s in connection with the crime.

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Bear paws turn up in nationwide raids

The bear paws confiscated from a trader's cold room. Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC Southeast Asia   

en Français

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26 August 2009—Malaysia's wildlife authority has seized several protected animals and parts of wildlife including bear paws, in a string of raids across the country in the last two weeks.

On August 11, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) found four bear paws in the cold room of a licensed trader’s store in the town of Kemaman in Terengganu, a state on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

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Crocodile hides in inspectors’ sights

Crocodile skin handbag: can you tell if it's fake or real? Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC   

en Français

Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, 21 August 2009—wildlife trade inspectors from Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) are being taught how to identify reptile skins and the products made out of them as part of a project that aims to improve the conservation of natural resources and ensure sustainable use.

“The international trade in reptile skins is an attractive business that generates high profits but has the potential to severely impact the conservation of the species involved,” says Adrian Reuter, TRAFFIC North America’s Mexico Representative.

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Illegal seahorse-containing medicine handed back

Powdered seahorses from Indonesia are a principal ingredient of medicinal tablets illegally imported into Poland Click photo to enlarge © Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon 

en Français

Cambridge, UK, 19 August 2009—A Polish company has been found guilty of importing 14 tonnes of “Ginjal”, a drug containing powdered seahorses that is illegal under Poland’s Act on Nature Conservation, but the court ruled the stock should be returned to the company.

“The illegal tablets should have been confiscated so they can never reach the marketplace,” commented Magdalena Romanowicz, Head of WWF Poland’s Reducing Illegal Wildlife Trade initiative.

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China’s fisheries must adapt to meet new EU regulations

The fish processing industry has expanded rapidly, such that China is now the world's leading exporter of marine fish products Click photo to enlarge C Morrison   

in Chinese l en Français

Beijing, China, 17 August 2009—China appears to have made considerable progress in improving the traceability of its fish processing industry, but will need to adapt further if it is to meet the requirements of forthcoming European Union regulations, according to a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

From January 2010, all fish materials imported into the European Union (EU) will have to be accompanied by catch certificates. The certificates will then have to be validated by the flag State of the vessel that caught the fish. The new laws aim to combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.

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